So, what's been going on over on my notorious 'drinking blog' over the past month and a half??
After the improbable discovery of a 'Swiss Club' in neighbouring Tianjin, I tried (and, of course, miserably failed) to initiate a new reader participation thread inspired by the The Fast Show's great delusional lothario, secondhand car dealer 'Swiss' Toni.
Reflecting on the strange culture of all-night drinking we have here in Beijing, I compiled a double 'Top Five' of the bars where I've seen the dawn come up and the bars where I've fallen asleep (yes, there is some overlap).
We've had a couple of posts on cocktail recipes - here and here - inspired by the fact that my friend Stephanie Rocard was one of the winners in the recent Beijing preliminary heat of the latest Diageo Reserve World Class Bartender Competition.
On the music front, we saw the second instalment of my new 'Great Basslines' strand with a Top Five 'Chuggers', and a much cheesier Top Five Songs I Miss (from the idiosyncratic playlist at my favourite bar, compiled by the original owner, a mate of mine who has now returned to Oz). I have also posted Harry McClintock's Big Rock Candy Mountains (a song I first got to know as a very young child - although I think I was simply charmed by its surreal imagery and had no inkling of its rather bleak context), husky-voiced Norwegian siren Ida Maria's infectious shoutalong lust song I Like You So Much Better When You're Naked (with a rather charming fan video animated from b&w stills), and some examples of virtuoso playing of a traditional Chinese instrument, the suona (a sort of reedy mini-trumpet). And I celebrated Cinco de Mayo last week with a blast of Los Lobos (and a flash of Salma Hayek!).
I've also shared my views on the imminent Bar and Club Awards run by The Beijinger magazine (I have a tenuous affiliation with their rival, City Weekend, but I am always asked to contribute to their preliminary nominations round), pondered the likely hopelessness of trying to rescue a bar from the Chinese predilection for naffness, delivered an affectionate appreciation of one of the great fictional drunks, Rab C. Nesbitt, discovered a rather wonderful statistics website which revealed to me that North Dakota is one of the best places in the US to get a drink, happened upon a particularly good line from Nietzsche, shared a bitter joke about the musical profession from cartoonist Mark Stivers (who's a musician himself), made a very silly comment on a careless capitalization error on a bar menu (one for JES, my bad-joke-addicted blog-friend), identified the true secret of mixing a good drink in a vintage cartoon, and reminisced on my first summer in Beijing, during the SARS scare.
And finally, my resurrected Invent A Name For A Rock Band game reached its 200th comment. [Unfortunately, that seems to have killed the thread stone dead! Perhaps because bloody Blogger will only display the first 199 comments?!]
Always lots of good stuff over there on the 'dark side'....